Britain’s pioneering double hand transplant was successful

BBC News quotes the double hand transplant, which was performed on a 48-year-old British man.

Stephen Gallagher went to see a doctor 13 years ago because of a rash on his face and pain in his right arm. He was first diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and underwent surgery, but after the pain returned to both hands, a specialist diagnosed scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that caused damage to the skin and internal organs.

His hands were completely clenched into his fists due to illness, he could no longer straighten his fingers, he could not hold them. A construction worker with three children from Drygorn was also forced to give up his job.

He went to Professor Andrew Hart, a plastic and hand surgeon in Glasgow, who raised the possibility of a double hand transplant. Gallagher also spoke about the risky surgery with Professor Simon Kay, a plastic surgeon at Leeds Training Hospital, who led the UK’s first double hand transplant in 2016.


Gallagher underwent surgery in Leeds in December 2021 by a team of 30 doctors of different professionals after finding the right donor for him. Doctors say he may be the world’s first man with scleroderma to undergo surgery.

As soon as the man woke up from the anesthesia he was able to move his hands. After four weeks of hospitalization, all you have to do now is go back to physical therapy and check-ups. He said he couldn’t push the button yet, but he could pet his dog, turn off the tap, and fill a cup with water. He added that his condition is improving very slowly week by week, and he hopes to be able to work one day.

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He stressed that the most important thing was that his unbearable pain was gone, and now his hands did not hurt at all.

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